Route Info | Boats | Map overview of route | Cruising Notes | Maps & Guides | Links | Pub Guide


You can do this route from :
Anderton Marina.

Anderton Marina



Take a tram into Manchester and visit the cities many attractions including the Imperial War Museum North at The Quays

Cruise up the Leeds & Liverpool canal with views of the Pennines and much evidence of the old textile Mills in this area,

The famous Five Rise Locks at Bingley are much wider, deeper and steeper than any other British flight of staircase locks and are one of the Canal Waterways wonders of the World.

Route Info

Route Facts & Figures

Recommended Holiday
Duration : 14 nights.

Total Cruising Days : 14.00 to 22.00
(Partial or full days)

Total Cruising Time : 109.00 hours

Total Distance : 245.00 miles

Number of Locks : 128

Number of Tunnels : 10

Number of Aqueducts : 4

Read the Cruising Notes

Read our cruising notes to help you plan your canal boat holiday

Read our cruising notes.






Cruising Notes

Navigational Notes
Saltersford Tunnel
Tunnel entry is as follows:
Northbound (Saltersford Tunnel to Preston Brook) - Entry on the hour until 20 minutes past the hour.
Southbound (Saltersford Tunnel to Barnton) - Entry 30 minutes past the hour until 10 minutes to the hour.

Preston Brook Tunnel
Tunnel times are as follows:
Northbound: open on the hour, and remains open until 10 past the hour.
Southbound: open at half past the hour, and remain opens until 20 to the hour.
Plank Lane Swing Bridge
Opening times are as follows: mid Mar, Apr, May - 8am-6pm. Jun, Jul, Aug - 8am-8pm. Sep - mid Nov - 8am-6pm, Mid Nov - mid Mar Weekdays 8am-4.30pm. Weekends 10am-2pm. Closed for lunch daily 12pm-12.45pm. Closed 24 Dec 09 - 04 Jan.

Day 1

If you prefer to stay put for the night, there is a restaurant/bar called The Moorings on the canalside at Anderton, where children and dogs are welcome. There is also a shop at the marina, which stocks essential provisions. The nearest supermarket is in Northwich, a couple of miles away.
Leaving Anderton, you will be heading towards Barnton Tunnel, which emerges onto a hillside overlooking the River Weaver, with a fantastic view down to Saltersford Locks. Do make sure before you enter the tunnel, that there are no boats coming from the other side, as it is only wide enough for one boat at a time.

At the east end of the tunnel, you will see some handy shops, so maybe a good time to stock up, if you have not already done so.

Moving on, you will now enter Saltersford Tunnel, again, two boats cannot pass in this tunnel, so do take care when entering and leaving it.
Passage is timed - northbound is on the hour to 20 past , southbound is half past the hour for 20 minutes.
Once through the tunnel, you will again be in open countryside and not far from your mooring for the night which is by bridge 209.

Not too far from the mooring about 1/4 mile to the north of Bridge 209, so take the road to your right by the bridge, you might like to have a meal in The Holly Bush Inn, Little Leigh, Northwich. Food is served at lunchtimes and evenings, along with traditional ales. There is a large beer garden with children's play area, so the whole family can relax before settling down for the night, ready for tomorrow's journey.

You should now have travelled about 4 miles in 1.45 hours.

Day 2

Today you will be making your way to Ashburton Road Bridge, 25 miles away, and with one lock en route.

On leaving Dutton Hall Winding Lock, you will be heading towards Preston Brook Tunnel, which is 1,239 yards long and has no towpath. (For tunnel times, please see Navigational Notes above). Once through the tunnel, you will branch off to the right to join the Bridgwater Canal, from where you can cruise to Stockton Heath, where you can moor up, stroll around the town, perhaps look around the shops in the Forge Shopping Centre, and have a meal in one of the many restaurants or bars.

In 1988 much of the centre of Stockton Heath was designated an area of conservation, so as to preserve its character, so there is something for everyone in this pretty town.

The next town you will cruise through is Lymm, where the streets come right down to the canalside, where on the towpath, there is a free ferry to the Barn Owl Inn. There is a convenient launderette in the town, and other small shops.

As you cruise on, the countryside rapidly disappears as you approach Sale, with its mixture of old and new industrial buildings. At Sale Bridge you will find The Robert Bolt Theatre and The Waterside Arts Centre, also a selection of pubs and a restaurant.

There is a tram station next to the canal in Timperley, which will take you into Manchester, if you so wish.

From here, you will reach Waters Meeting, where you will bear left towards Trafford Park, which is an ideal place to moor if you want to take a look around the Trafford Centre. This is reasonably near to the Ashburton Road Bridge – your stop for the night.

You will have been cruising for around 8 hours and covered 25 miles, and only one lock.

Day 3

Today you will be heading for Wigan Top Lock Junction (to avoid stopping in a flight of locks).

Before leaving Waters Meeting, you may want to explore Trafford Park, where you will find a wealth of shops and entertainment.

The Imperial War Museum North at The Quays, is well worth a visit. You can visit it by getting the Metrolink near to the canal.

There are moorings near a nice little pub called The Jolly Angler, which offers real ale and snacks, so perfect if you fancy something before you set off on the next leg of your journey.

After cruising through the suburbs of Salford, you will eventually reach the village of Worsley. Here, you will find a park, East of bridge 51, which boasts a brick fountain built in 1905 to commemorate the Third Duke of Bridgwater.

Also in the village there is a post office and various shops. Nearby, along the canal, you will see the Boathouse, built by Lord Ellesmere, to house the Royal Barge which was prepared for Queen Victoria's visit in 1851.

A little further on is Astley, where it's worth looking at the Colliery Museum, with the pit-head gear visible as you approach. Also near here, there is a pub called The Old Boat House, serving real ale and food, and which has a canalside garden, mooring. Children are welcome.

Continuing your journey, you will reach the mill town of Leigh, where the canal changes from the Bridgwater Canal into the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

If you're ready to stop for lunch, there is a pub called The Waterside Inn, which serves food at lunchtimes and evenings. Please be aware though, if you have children, only those over 10 years of age are permitted, when you are having a meal.

For art lovers, there is the Turnpike Gallery, which presents temporary exhibitions. See their website below for forthcoming events.

As you continue your journey, you will find it is less built up, and more peaceful, with Plank Lane swing bridge being the next significant landmark. The bridge is operated by a bridge keeper, so do check the opening times (see Navigational Notes, above).

If you have not yet eaten, or have children (including those under 10), you may like to stop at The Dover Lock Inn, which is in Abram, canalside near Dover Bridge. Large beer garden, but sorry, no dogs.

Your next place of interest, is Wigan and the Douglas Valley, passing through three swing bridges.

Along this stretch of canal, you will come across the famous Wigan Pier, which is at the bottom of the Wigan flight of locks. George Orwell famously wrote a book called The Road to Wigan Pier, which increased the popularity of the pier.

Wigan itself, is a pretty industrial town with a large range of shops within walking distance, as well as old and new shopping arcades, so ideal for a bit of retail therapy. You may also come across the large covered market, and All Saints Church, which is surrounded by a pretty rose garden. And for refreshment, why not try Crooke Hall Inn, which is a canalside, friendly village pub, with moorings in the Douglas Valley. Children are welcome, but only in the dining room. Or why not try the Orwell, on Wigan Pier, which has an excellent selection of real ales, a Sunday carvery and food served daily. Children are welcome.

Moving on, you will now be making your way towards Wigan Locks, and Wigan Top Lock Junction where you will be mooring for the night.

Wigan Locks is a series of 21 locks which culminate at The Kirklees Hall Inn at New Springs, who will offer and embellished certificate to all who complete the ascent! Looking back to where you have just come from, you will be aware of just how high you have climbed. The Kirklees Hall is a distinctive black and white building, serving a wide range of good food. Children are welcome.

You can now relax, knowing that you have covered 18 miles and tackled 23 locks, in around 9-10 hours.

Day 4

Your destination today is Bower House Fold Bridge No. 96.

So, leaving Wigan Locks, you will be cruising towards Adlington, which is a small industrial town, where you will find shops for provisions.

For nine miles, the canal is lock-free, so you can enjoy a nice relaxing cruise along what is known as the Lancaster Pool. In the distance, to the east, you may get a glimpse of the Pennines, which you will eventually cross. Much of this stretch of the canal is through woodland, and as lessens, you will soon see views of Chorley, which you bypass, as the canal crosses the valley.

If time allows, you might like to visit Astley Hall Museum and Art Gallery, which is owned by the town of Chorley, and is known as the 'Jewel in Chorley's Crown'. It is said that Oliver Cromwell once stayed there. The Hall is Elizabethan, with an ornamental lake, and is set in 105 acres of wooded parkland.

Leaving Adlington, you will now head for Withnell Fold, where you will encounter a series of seven locks, which are quite close together. Once at the top, you will be rewarded with lovely views. Alongside the canal, the old filter beds have been developed into a nature reserve, to provide natural animal and plant habitats.

Withnell Fold itself is a village that was built for the canal workers families that worked at the paper mill (now disused). The houses form three sides around a village square, with a set of stocks being on the fourth side.

As you now pass under the M65, you will be heading towards the outskirts of Blackburn.

Worth visiting in Blackburn is Hoghton Tower, a fortified manor house, standing on a hilltop. It is said that James I, in 1617, enjoyed a joint of beef so much here, that he knighted the remains 'Sir Loin'!

For families with children, try the Waves Water Fun Centre, where you will find a lagoon shaped pool, shipwrecked slide, jacuzzi, a gym, and much more. The address for this is Nab Lane, Blackburn, BB2 1LN, telephone number 01254 268800.

By now you will probably be thinking about dinner, so why not try The Postal Order, a JD Wetherspoon pub, in Darwen Street, Blackburn, where children are welcome, and you will get good value for money.

Onwards towards your mooring for the night, you pass a suburb called Cherry Tree, where you will find a good selection of shops and takeaways, so an ideal time to stock up on essential provisions for the next stretch of your journey.

Carry on past bridge no. 95, then you will reach Bower House Fold Bridge No. 96, where you can moor for the night.

Today you have travelled 17 miles, through 7 locks, over approximately 6 and a half hours.

Day 5

Destination today – Hawks House Bridge No. 136.

Leaving Blackburn, you will head towards Rishton, a small C19th town, which derived from the cotton mills, and very reminiscent of Catherine Cookson stories. For more information about this, visit their website below.

You will find for a while that the canal is full of twists and turns, sometimes through heavily industrialised areas, sometimes through beautiful countryside, so there will be plenty to see.

En route you will come to a small industrial community called Church. Here you will find local stores, a garage and post office. There are moorings here if you want to have a stroll around the village, or visit the parish church of St James, of which there are various original C15th remains, including two windows designed by Edward Burne Jones.

Once leaving here, you will cruise through Clayton Le Moors, where there is a nice pub called The Albion, which serves bar food, real ales and ciders. Children are welcome.

In the village of Clayton Le Moors, there are shops and takeaways, so once again you can stock up ready for the next day, or maybe have a Chinese if you're getting fed up with pub food!

As you wend your way towards Hapton, you will see Pendle Hill in the distance, rising 183 feet high. Unlike the stretch of canal you have just travelled, you will not see much in the way of industrial towns now as this part is more scenic.

Soon, you will start to see the suburbs of Burnley, and after having passed through the 559 yard long Gannow Tunnel, you will be close to mooring at Rose Grove, where you will find toilets and showers which have full disabled access.

In Burnley, you may like to visit The Coal Clough Pub, a traditional Northern pub, on the corner of a street. Children and dogs are not permitted.

There is a museum at the old toll master's house at Burnley Wharf, which is worth a visit, as is Towneley Hall Museum, set in Towneley Park, which is the largest in Burnley. There is an aquarium and natural history museum here too.

Inn On The Wharf is a family-orientated pub, which is situated on the canal side. They serve traditional, homemade food, ranging from bistro to carvery. The beer garden is alongside the canal, so a lovely place to relax and unwind before continuing your journey.

On leaving Burnley, you will soon reach a sharp left hand bend in the canal, which takes you to a small aqueduct after Godley Bridge 130H. Another left turn, then right, and you will be heading towards Reedley Marina, near to Brierfield, a small industrial town where you will find shops, a post office and other local amenities, so ideal for stocking up on essential provisions.

After leaving Reedley Marina, you will pass Oliver Ings Bridge No. 135, then at the next one, Hawks House Bridge No. 136, you can moor for the night.

You will have gone through 6 locks and cruised 21 miles in just over 8 hours.

Day 6

Your destination today is Gargrave Visitor Moorings, around 16 miles away.

The canal now heads towards Foulridge, passing through Nelson, where you will climb the pretty locks at Barrowford. You will notice that you leave the industrial North behind and see distant mountainous countryside instead.

Nelson has a good selection of shops, including a covered precinct. If you want to travel on a bit, you could moor up at Barrowford, a pretty village with local amenities, accessible via a footpath near the top of the locks.

Pendle Heritage Centre can be found here, and has an Art Gallery, Parlour Shop, C18th Walled Garden and a Garden Tearoom. Well worth a visit.

For lunch, you might like to visit the White Bear Inn at Barrowford, where you will get a warm welcome, along with good food and real ales.

Leaving Barrowford, you will wend your way towards Foulridge Tunnel, which is 640 yards long with no towpath. Entrance to the tunnel is restricted and controlled by lights, so be aware of the signs giving instructions, and of the tunnel roof dripping liberally!

From Foulridge going towards Salterforth, you will travel through some beautiful countryside – a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the previous towns.

Salterforth is a small village with only basic local amenities. There is a small children's park near bridge 151. For the adults, why not try The Anchor Inn, an historic pub dating back to 1655, which serves real ales and homemade food. Children are also welcome.

Continuing your journey, you will reach Barnoldswick, ('Barlick' to the locals), the home of the Rolls Royce aero design centre. Interestingly, you can tell if a Rolls Royce jet engine originated in Barnoldswick, by the initials on it, eg. RB123 would indicate 'Rolls Barnoldswick'.

The centre of the town is dominated by Holy Trinity Church, a modern church completed in 1960. You will find shops, a post office, and all the usual local amenities. And whilst here, you might like to visit the Bancroft Mill Engine Trust, a working museum featuring a steam engine and its two boilers that once powered the looms of the mill. You can get refreshments and take a look around the gift shop, before setting off on your journey again.

As you continue, you will reach Greenberfield Locks, a series of three locks, rising around 29 feet.

For a few winding miles you will be surrounded by countryside, with distant views of mountains, before you reach East Marton. This is a tiny village with a pub and a church. The pub, the Cross Keys, is next to the canal and is only 10 minutes from Skipton. Locally sourced home-cooked food and locally brewed ales are available, so perhaps a good place to moor for lunch.

The next stretch of canal snakes its way around the hills that dominate this landscape, towards Bank Newton, where you will come across six locks, making up the Bank Newton Flight, and rising by 56 feet. You will now be on the border of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

A little further on you will reach Anchor Bridge No. 169A, and just beyond this is Gargrave Visitor Moorings – your stop for tonight.

Today you travelled 16 miles, tackled 19 locks and completed it in around 8 and a half hours.


Destination – Stockbridge Winding Hole.

If you did not explore Gargrave yesterday, now would be and ideal time to take a leisurely stroll around this pretty and much-visited village. There are local stores, pretty stone cottages, plenty of scope for a bracing walk, and perhaps a stop at The Masons Arms, where you can fill up on a proper breakfast to set you up for the day.

So, leaving Gargrave, you will head towards Skipton, passing over the Holme Bridge Aqueduct, taking you through the Yorkshire Dales National Park, where you will encounter only three locks in around 17 miles.

As you near Skipton, you will see the Springs Branch arm, which is short, and runs to the back of Skipton Castle, 100 feet above, worth a visit if you have time, but if not, bear right towards Skipton, where all local amenities are available, including a cinema. Mooring couldn't be simpler and you will only be a minute or so from the shops.

If you're feeling energetic, why not hire a bicycle and explore a little further afield? A good hire shop to try is Dave Ferguson Cycles, telephone 01756 795367. For the less energetic, a gentle stroll along the towpath will take you to the Castle, and beyond it, to Skipton Woods. Or maybe you would like to visit the Craven Museum and Gallery in the Town Hall. Along with the usual exhibits, there are changing exhibitions, so it may be worth visiting the website (below) for more details.

One mile North of Skipton (accessible by local bus), you will find the Embasy and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. This steam railway, built in 1888, takes you on a journey through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, stopping at Bolton Abbey station, where you can walk to the ruins of the C12th Bolton Priory. In Bolton Abbey you will find mile upon mile of beautiful landscape to explore, with tea rooms, restaurants and gift shops to browse around. Perhaps you might like to take a picnic to enjoy beside the river. The website gives details of opening times and what's on, so visit their website (below) and book your tickets for a great day out.

Leaving Skipton, you will pass through numerous little villages on the way to Silsden, the first one of note being Kildwick, where you will find a C17th pub called The White Lion. It is located between the Leeds and Liverpool canal and the River Aire. Home-cooked food and local ales are served, and children and dogs are welcome.

Onwards towards Silsden, you will cruise through Airedale, with its beautiful, steep green hills and woods, and you will encounter several swing bridges on this stretch of canal.

Once in Silsden, you will see that it is a small industrial town which rises uphill from the canal.,and you will find plenty of shops here, close to the canal, so a good time to stock up on essentials again.

From Silsden, you will now make your way towards Stockbridge Winding Hole, which is between Leache's Swing Bridge 196 and Stockbridge Swing Bridge 197.

Today you have travelled around 15 miles over 8 hours.

Day 8

The first part of your journey today will take you to Bingley, before turning to make your return journey.

Leaving Stockbridge, you will be heading towards Keighley, where you will discover The Airedale Shopping Centre – ideal if you are desperate for some retail therapy! As well as all the well known shops, there are cafe's and restaurants, so something for everyone.

For the steam railway enthusiast, there is the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. For full details of timetables, fares and routes, see their website below.

If you're more into history, why not pay a visit to Cliffe Castle Museum? The Museum is in Spring Gardens Lane and is easy to get to from the canal.

As you head towards Bingley Five-Rise Locks, after passing through two more swing bridges, you will reach Riddlesden, a suburb of Keighley, which is mostly hilly and steep.

Whilst here, you might like to visit East Riddlesden Hall, the C17th home of James Murgatroyd, a cloth merchant. This beautiful hall is warm and welcoming and has room guides who will share stories of the lives once lived here.

Onwards with your journey, you will now make your way to Bingley Five-Rise Locks, after which you will turn at Bingley Winding Hole, just before the Three-Rise Locks.

Before you turn, you might like to stop off at The Five Rise Locks Cafe, where you can get anything from breakfast to lunch, sandwiches, salads and homemade cakes, including a children's menu – perfect before setting off on the return journey.

Day 9 14/21

You are now on the return journey, so perhaps you will have time to visit places you missed on the way up. If you are doing the trip in 21 days, you can cruise at a more leisurely pace, and spend longer wherever you choose.

All the moorings for each night are suggestions only, and as long as it is safe, and you are permitted to do so, you can moor wherever you would like to stop.

You may want to spend longer in some places, and give others a miss. How and where you choose to visit is entirely your prerogative. All of the above are suggestions only.

Enjoy your trip!


NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.


The following boats operate on this route (subject to availability)
Pacific Wren Canal Boat
Class : Wren
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

Grey Wren Canal Boat
Class : Wren
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

Reed Bunting Canal Boat
Class : Bunting
(Sleeps a maximum of 5 People).

Great Blue Heron Canal Boat
Class : Heron
(Sleeps a maximum of 5 People).

Dusky Thrush Canal Boat
Class : Thrush
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Laughing Gull Canal Boat
Class : Gull
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Bar Tailed Lark Canal Boat
Class : Lark
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Hill Partridge Canal Boat
Class : Partridge
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

River Warbler Canal Boat
Class : Warbler
(Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).

Blackcap Warbler Canal Boat
Class : Warbler
(Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).

Fairy Tern Canal Boat
Class : Tern
(Sleeps a maximum of 10 People).

Black Necked Swan Canal Boat
Class : Swan
(Sleeps a maximum of 12 People).

Savoy Hill V Canal Boat
Class : SavoyV
(Sleeps a maximum of 7 People).

Meyers Parrot Canal Boat
Class : CBC4
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

Mealy Amazon Canal Boat
Class : CBC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Yellow Crowned Amazon Canal Boat
Class : CBC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Meyers Parrot Canal Boat
Class : CBC4
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

Mealy Amazon Canal Boat
Class : CBC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Yellow Crowned Amazon Canal Boat
Class : CBC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).


Maps and Guides

Pub Guide

Pubs available on this canal route:-

  Pub Name Pub Address Distance from Anderton More Info
Jacksons Boat Rifle Road, Sale M33 2LX Full Details
Kirkless Hall Inn Aspull, Wigan WN2 1JW Full Details
The Barn Owl Agden Wharf, Lymm WA13 0SW Full Details
The Belmore Brooklands Road, Sale M33 3QN Full Details
The Boatyard Inn Bolton Road, Riley Green PR5 0SP Full Details
The Boundary Stone Bridgewater Road, Worsley M28 1AD Full Details
The Bridge Inn Dane Road, Sale M33 7QH Full Details
The Bulls Head 504 Manchester Road, Astley M29 7BP Full Details
The Cross Keys East Marton BD23 3LP Full Details
The Ferrands Arms Queen Street, Bingley BD16 2JS Full Details
The Hapton Inn 2 Accrington Road, Hapton BB11 5QL Full Details
The Inn On The Wharf Manchester Road, Burnley BB11 1JG Full Details
The John Gilbert Worsley Brow, Worsley M28 2YA Full Details
The Kings Ransom Britannia Road, Sale M33 2AA Full Details
The Moon Under Water Market Place, Wigan WN1 1PE Full Details
The Myrtle Grove 141 Main Street, Bingley BD16 1AJ Full Details
The Navigation Inn Canal Street, Blackburn BB2 4DL Full Details
The Orwell Wallgate, Wigan Pier, Wigan WN3 4EU Full Details
The Postal Order Darwen Street, Blackburn BB2 2BY Full Details
The Railway Chapel Road, Sale M33 7FD Full Details
The Royal Oak Riley Green PR5 0SL Full Details
The Sparrowhawk Wheatley Lane Road, Burnley BB12 9QG Full Details
The Stanley Arms Old Road, Anderton CW9 6AG Full Details
The Windmill Mill Lane, Wigan WN8 7NW Full Details
The Dover Lock Inn The Dover Lock Inn Warrington Road, Wigan WN2 5XX Full Details
The White Lion The White Lion Priest Bank Road, Kildwick BD20 9BH Full Details

NB: Distances are as the crow flies and will vary for actual canal boating travel distance.


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The information above is provided in good faith to assist you with planning your canal boat holiday. Information accuracy cannot be guaranteed, however, if you do see something that needs updating, please don't hesitate to contact us.